2010 WTA Tour in review II
In 2010, some players nose-dived down the rankings.
Those who fell in 2010
Young Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito, who broke into top 100 at the age of 17, has been ousted from it. Now ranked 225th, she hasn’t been able to continue her breakthrough form, which was somehow predictable. She possesses an amazing temper, but she’s also technically limited and often lacks answers on court.
In order to allow her to improve, a great deal of work needs to be done. For now, she’s reached something of a dead end and that's a pity because her personality makes her a really spectacular player to watch.
Svetlana Kuznetsova won’t remember 2010 as a great year either. Overall she badly lacked the motivation to succeed and her association with Loļc Courteau lasted just two months. Twenty-seventh in the rankings is unworthy of her talent.
Dinara Safina went through a nightmare last season as the former world number one sunk in the rankings. After sustaining a serious back injury, she parted ways with her coach and mentor Zejko Krajan, who led her to the top of the rankings. Since then, she’s desperately been searching for confidence - without success.
Sorana Cirstea is now around the 100 mark, whereas in 2009 she reached the French Open quarter-finals by beating players like Caroline Wozniacki. But she made far too many changes and she hesitated too much on her shot choices, preventing her from building a solid game. It's a real pity for the Romanian, who is blessed with such a strong striking quality.
Alizé Cornet went on in her fall down the rankings. No longer trained by Pierre Bouteyre, she hopes that picking a new coach will help her to restart with a good basis in 2011. She was ranked 11 in 2009 at the age of 19.
Those who improved in 2010
Ana Ivanovic shines once again, over a year after having looked lost on court, when she let panic take her focus away, was unable to stop double faulting and was struggling with her backhand. Everything seemed to click back into place in Cincinnati against Azarenka, when she was totally dominated before being able to come back and pull off an unlikely upset. Since that match, she seems to have found her game again, mostly due to her work with Heinz Gunthardt. Now that he’s not there anymore, she’s trained by Antonio Van Grichen, former coach of Azarenka. If she succeeds in keeping the right guideline, she could be back soon in the top 10.
The German Andrea Petkovic has improved over the past two seasons. Her fitness, the physical battle she forces her opponents to go through and her great first serve are outstanding weapons. If she really wants to progress further she will have to find some serenity on court because her emotions have a tendency to take over when it comes to the end of a match. Her second serve will also need to be improved, like the variety of her game, which can be sometimes a bit too easy to read.
Shahar Peer is back to a rank she had reached some years ago (13th). In the time in between, she lost her way. But due to the huge amount of work put in with her coach Pablo Giacopelli, she has been able to build her game again in a way suited to her abilities. They’re no longer working together and she’s now trained by Craig Kardon. In 2011 she’ll have no choice but to keep her perfect physical condition and be even more aggressive. When she takes the ball early and dictates the points, she’s at her best. She should also work on her second serve.
The talent and unbelievable striking power of Aravane Rezaļ was there for all to see in 2010. Now ranked 19, she put some big performances under her belt with wins over three former world number ones, and also triumphs in Madrid, Bali and Bastad. She even led 6-3 5-2 against Serena Williams. Now working again with her father, she will have to keep improving her fitness in order to be able to use her power in the best possible way. She should watch her serve too.
Kaļa Kanepi also improved a lot in 2010 and is now ranked 22nd in the world. She lost a lot of weight to improve her fitness and now she moves a great deal better than before, can get through big rallies and doesn’t feel the need to go for winners too early. Her heavy shots and her great first serve make her a tough opponent to face, but she remains fragile when one succeeds in forcing her to move back from the baseline.
Romanian Aleksandra Dulgheru is slowly but surely making a name for herself on the tour. With a very discrete and not too spectacular style, she still occupies 29th spot in the WTA rankings. This tremendously fit player is a terrific fighter and possesses a lot of abilities when it comes to set a game plan. Nobody is safe when confronted by her but she lacks offensive weapons, her serve needs to improve and she played a lot last year. Real thought has to be given to her career or she’ll remain a good top 50 player.
2011 could be the year for:
Yanina Wickmayer, who had an amazing run in 2009, but struggled last year. However, she remains a very special player. Extraordinary athletic, with the temperament of a champion and unbeatable determination, she could do well in 2011. If she succeeds in advancing her game to add some diversity to her shots selection, especially in the picking of zones, she’ll become a threat for the top players.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the young 19-year-old Russian ranked 21st, can rely on a complete game. Serve, forehand, backhand: she can use each shot like a weapon. Ambitious and confident in her own abilities, she now needs to prepare herself, physically and regarding her game, as a contender for Grand Slams titles. If she does so, she could surprise us all in 2011.
Petra Kvitova, the 20-year-old Czech player, showed her talent at Wimbledon last year. Yet she remains fragile, lacks some depth in her game and is missing some intensity. But when she’s in full flight, she’s overwhelming. Her huge first serve and her flat shots played early make her a really tough player to handle. She will have to work very hard in order to win on an off day and become a dangerous player on a regular basis.